Week 19: Palm Sunday, Sixth Sunday in Lent

God promised a king to rule on David’s throne as Lord and Christ forever. The prophet Zechariah said, “Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Behold, your king is coming to you, humble, and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden” (Zech. 9.9). Jesus fulfills the prophecy that the king is coming to us, humble, on a donkey. The crowd waved palms and shouted, “Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Indeed, the prophet Jesus, from Nazareth of Galilee, is the Christ, the Lord, the Savior of the world.

Invocation: Our Prayer of Acclamation

We praise you, O God, for your redemption of the world through Jesus Christ. Today he entered the holy city of Jerusalem in triumph and was proclaimed Messiah and king by those who spread garments and branches along his way. Let these branches be signs of his victory, and grant that we who carry them may follow him in the way of the cross, that, dying and rising with him, we may enter into your kingdom; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.

~ The Theological and Worship Ministry Unit. Book of Common Worship. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993. p. 253.

Call to Worship
Blessed are you, O God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. And blessed is your Kingdom, both now and forever, amen.

Te Deum Laudamus 
You are God: we praise you; you are the Lord; we acclaim you; you are the eternal Father: All creation worships you. To you all angels, all the powers of heaven, Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise: Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might, heaven and earth are full of your glory.

The glorious company of apostles praise you. The noble fellowship of prophets praise you. The white-robed army of martyrs praise you. Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you; Father, of majesty unbounded, your true and only Son, worthy of all worship, and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

You, Christ, are the king of glory, the eternal Son of the Father. When you became man to set us free you did not shun the Virgin’s womb. You overcame the sting of death and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers. You are seated at God’s right hand in glory. We believe that you will come and be our judge. Come then, Lord, and help your people, bought with the price of your own blood, and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.

Praise and Thanksgiving (songs and prayers)

Gloria Patri
Glory be to the Father,
And to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning,
Is now, and ever shall be,
World without end. Amen, amen.

Chronological Holy Week Readings

Because the current church year has 53 weeks instead of the usual 52, we will focus on the chronological Holy Week readings this week, and resume the chronological Bible readings next week.

Palm Sunday: Matt. 21.1-17; Mark 11.1-11; Luke 19.28-48; John 12.12-50

Lectionary Readings for the Day
Psalm: Ps. 31.9-16
OT: Isa. 50.4-9a
Gospel: Matt. 26.14-27.66
NT: Matt. 21.1-11

(Click here for all readings)

Reflection: Silence and/or Journaling

The Apostles’ Creed
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven and sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic* church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

*In the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, the term catholic refers to the Church’s universality, through all ages and times, of all languages and peoples. It refers to no particular tradition or denominational expression (e.g., as in Roman Catholic).

Prayers of Confession
Let us now confess our sins to God and receive mercy and grace to help in our time of need.

Assurance of Pardon
Having faithfully confessed and renounced your sin, Christ also has been faithful to forgive your sins and to purify you from all unrighteousness. It is certain, that there is One who has spoken to the Father in your defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One who is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and for the sins of the whole world. His grace and peace are with you now. Amen.

Petitions and Supplications, Ending with The Lord’s Prayer
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

~ Matthew 6.9-13 (KJV)

Doxology (and/or closing song)
Praise God from whom all blessings flow;
Praise Him all creatures here below;
Praise Him above ye heavenly host;
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Amen.


Merciful God, as we enter Holy Week and gather at your house of prayer, turn our hearts again to Jerusalem, to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, that united with Christ and all the faithful we may one day enter in triumph the city not made by human hands, the new Jerusalem, eternal in the heavens, where with you and the Holy Spirit, Christ lives in glory forever. Amen.

~ Book of Worship United Church of Christ. In The Theological and Worship Ministry Unit. Book of Common Worship. Louisville, KY: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1993. p. 253

Pray without Ceasing – Flash Prayer for the Day
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!

God’s work of revelation was first presented in Creation; was fulfilled through God’s Son, Jesus; and will be perfected when saints of all ages join in worship around the throne of heaven. And from beginning to end, God stays on task. He divided His creative work into days and time, thus providing structure. He crafted his artistic tapestry with care, color, and detail, providing wonder. He developed a framework for making Himself most clearly known by the human heart and mind and, in so doing, provided relationship. He gave example for worship by proclaiming approval of His own work. Then He provided time for repose, contemplation, restoration, and response, giving us a model for worship.”

~ Vernon Whaley, Called to Worship: The Biblical Foundations of Our Response to God’s Call. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2009. p. 4.

Let God Arise! Seasonal Focus
But If It Dies, John 12.20-36

Book Reading
Whaley, Called to Worship

Special Church Year Services
Maundy Thursday: Thursday, April 6, 2023
Good Friday: Friday, April 7, 2023
Holy Saturday: Saturday, April 8, 2023

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